£2 million Youth strand of the Building Connections Fund – what you need to know

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Please note, this fund has now closed to applications.

Eligible charities and community organisations from across England can apply until 26 September 2018 for up to £80,000 from the Building Connections Fund Youth strand, to expand or enhance their work tackling youth loneliness.

Funding, delivered by the Co-op Foundation, is available for projects that support any groups of young people within the most deprived 30% areas of England.

Grants can also support projects from any location in England that mainly benefit young people with any one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Being a carer
  • Being unemployed or precariously employed
  • Experiencing bereavement
  • Having a disability or long-term health condition
  • Having been in the care system.

Please note, there is no defined age range for the young people successful applicants will support. However, we anticipate most organisations applying to the fund will work with young people aged eight to 25 years old.

Read the guidance notes in full before applying through our online form. The deadline is 26 September 2018.

What is the Building Connections Fund?

The £11.5 million Building Connections Fund is a partnership between Government, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation, set up in response to the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness to support projects in England that prevent or reduce loneliness.

The fund is split into two strands: the Main fund and the Youth strand.

  • Close to £9 million will be distributed from the Main Fund by the Big Lottery Fund, with grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 available. £4.5 million has been contributed by the Government, and £5 million from the National Lottery. Please note, this fund has now closed to applications.
  • The £2 million Youth strand is made up of £1m from Government and £1m match funding from the Co-op Foundation. This fund closed on 26 September 2018.

Why are we tackling youth loneliness?

Research from Co-op’s campaign to tackle loneliness with the British Red Cross found that young people feel lonely more than any other age group.

Our own research also found that 65% of young people say loneliness is an issue for their age group while UK Youth’s A Place To Belong report spoke to youth workers, 82% of whom agreed that loneliness affects the young people they work with.

Despite this, there is still limited understanding of what would be most helpful for young people affected by, or at risk of, loneliness.

That’s why, as part of the Building Connections Fund, Co-op Foundation is working with Government to build the evidence base and improve practice on youth loneliness.

How will funding be used?

Successful applicants to the Youth strand will receive funding to explore youth loneliness in greater depth, test youth-led innovations within their existing provision, and share their learning as part of the national Belong network.

Organisations can apply for up to £80,000, as follows:

  • Up to £10,000 (to be spent between December 2018 and March 2019) to engage young people in co-designing innovations to improve the impact of existing provision on tackling loneliness
  • Up to £70,000 (to be spent between April 2019 and March 2021) to implement and evaluate these innovations.

Successful applicants will be announced in December 2018.

Important links:

Learn more about youth loneliness:

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